Grape Picking in Okinawa: ぶどう狩り

ぶどう, ブドウ, or 葡萄 budou means “grapes.”

狩り kari means “hunting” which in this context means more like “picking fruit.”

Believe it or not, there are 2 farms located in Nakijin (North part of Okinawa, not far from Nakijin castle 今帰仁城) that have grape picking for a short time in July. One is Komesu vineyard 米須ぶどう園 and the other is Ishikawa vineyard 石川ぶどう園. In the past I believe there were more, but these are the 2 that I know of. Both farms grow the kyoho grape variety 巨峰, which are a large and sweet.

Now, this is not really cheap here in Okinawa, so you won’t be getting a “deal” or anything… though there is no entrance fee, it is 1500yen per kilogram. That being said, they are fresh and very delicious.

Anyway, after missing the season last year, at last we made our way up there. If you visit, look for the flags with ぶどう狩り or 巨峰 and pictures of grapes. We got to Komesu at 10am, were explained the rules, given scissors and a basket, and let loose. We were told the grapes in the bags with a red mark were ripe and ready for being cut down. Since it is not terribly cheap, we only cut a few down.

Afterwards they weighed the fruits of our labor and we paid the fee. We also tried a grape smoothie made with local kyoho grapes being sold by a vendor at the vineyard… I don’t normally like grape flavored things, but made with fresh local grapes the ice-cold smoothie was sooo good.

We decided to drive to Ishikawa vineyard next since it was nearby. This vineyard was a little more difficult to find, located off a road not even in GoogleMaps… so you may end up circling a bit. We stopped by and took pictures. It was a bit more crowded (with all locals), so we decided we probably had enough grapes anyway and moved along. Overall we had quite a bit of fun and the fresh grapes really are much better than what you normally buy in the stores. To be honest, I don’t typically love grapes, but I really like these kyoho grapes.

Both places recommend calling ahead to make sure they have enough grapes for picking, or even reservations if it is particularly busy (otherwise you may drive up there and leave empty-handed). We took our chances and did not call ahead, but since we were there early in the morning, as well as one of the first weekends they were open for picking, we had no problems at all. So I recommend showing up close to opening time (9am) and NOT waiting until the end of the day, otherwise you may be out of luck. I also recommend trying to get there early in the picking season, otherwise they close up shop when they run out of grapes; this is what happened to us last year. Typically the season is during the whole month of July; usually the event sites or newspaper publish an article when the time is near.


Komesu vineyard 米須ぶどう園:

Ishikawa vineyard 石川ぶどう園:


Strawberry picking in Okinawa: イチゴ狩り

苺 or イチゴ  or いちご ichigo: strawberry

狩り kari: literal translation is “hunting,” but it used for picking fruit

so ichigo-gari イチゴ狩り is strawberry picking.

Strawberry picking is really popular in Japan.

Today we went to Chura Ichigo 美らイチゴ, a strawberry farm in Itoman. Here, you pick your own strawberries in their covered greenhouse. They just opened this year and they grow 5 different varieties of strawberries.

When you enter, you take off your shoes and put them in the cubby, then wear the rubber slippers provided for you. Next you will be handed a basket with a tray in it. You are instructed in the method of how to pluck the strawberries, by turning the tops downwards and pulling gently (look at the picture signs they have for you to understand what I mean).

What I like about this place is that there is no entrance fee (!) and you simply pay for as many as you pick (2yen per 1 gram). We enjoyed some time choosing from the different varieties of berries and ended up with about 950yen worth of strawberries. These berries were so sweet and delicious, it was such a good value. If you want, they also have some benches you can sit at and enjoy eating your berries after you have paid for them, or you can get a bag to carry them home in if you prefer. I highly recommend trying Chura Ichigo!

Some other places, such as some farms in Ginoza (up north) and Tomoyu Farm in Nakagusuku, have only a tabehoudai 食べ放題 (all-you-can-eat) plan where you pay a certain amount (usually 1300yen for adults) and you can eat as many strawberries as you want in 20 minutes. For me, I prefer to savor my berries since they are a rare treat; I don’t want to scarf them down in a certain amount of time. So while I appreciate the novelty of the tabehoudai idea, it is not how I wish to enjoy my strawberries.

Chura Ichigo Itoman branch is only open on Saturdays and Wednesdays, from about January until May, starting from 10am until they are out of berries for the day. Most strawberry picking places in Okinawa begin their season around January/February and close by May.

**UPDATE: Chura Ichigo has opened a second location in NANJO. This location is open on Sundays and Thursdays, starting at 10 am until they are out of berries. These 2 locations have become so popular it is important to check the website for the day to see if they have sold out or go at opening! The website is even in English now since many foreign people enjoy visiting! The fees have changed; there is now an entrance fee and berries are 3yen per gram. They have also added a tabehoudai plan 食べ放題 for those interested.


Itoman address:

Nanjo address: